Prelude Music Arts

prelude music arts

creating sharp minds with great music at the piano


W. Tim O'Steen,  DMA

pianist/teacher/composer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Huntsville/Madison                                Florence                  




 WHO I am


A musician with a passion

for teaching and sharing music with students.  Among his students are collegiate scholarship winners,  competent pianists who earn outstanding ratings in district and state auditions, talent show winners who have learned to create and perform their original music.  And overall confident, knowledgeable pianists who can perform at admirable levels of artistry.


an advocate for young people

Eight years as volunteer director of the Hoffmeister Young Artist Competition sponsored in Florence by the Shoals Symphony Orchestra at UNA, promoting talented musicians from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, including many young musicians from Huntsville and Madison and surrounding area.  An active leader in several capacities supporting youth activities over the years.


always a student

 Always moving forward in music, always trying to learn more about playing, about teaching, about composing,  about music generally, and especially about how students appear to be thinking and responding to what I tell them.  That is the journey in music, in the arts.  It is a world view and a journey that creates critical and analytical thinking patterns and discipline toward success in many things in life.


an instructor for all kinds of students

Young, older, beginner, advanced, whatever style of music is of interest.


A professional

 W. Tim O'Steen, Doctor of Musical Arts (LSU)   Nearly forty years as a performing pianist and teacher.  Composer of literature for piano, including educational literature for students, as well as serious art music for piano and other musical genres and performance media.  Numerous performances around the state including Huntsville.  Recognized and awarded as a performer at Auburn University, (BM)  and as a composer at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. (MM)  Collegiate teaching experience.  (LSU and the University of North Alabama)


a determined and dedicated instructor

who takes seriously the challenge of helping students become knowledgeable musicians, building the strengths and overcoming the obstacles that any student may have, while assuring that they find their place as a pianist/musician who is competent and prepared to achieve as they desire, whether it be music as a profession or simply the enjoyment of music through a solid playing facility that allows life long enjoyment and enrichment.


prelude music arts studio

opened in Florence in 2002 and still operates for a variety of functions.  Teaching, composing and arranging, recording, publishing.  The Huntsville location opened in Madison in July of 2016 and recently moved to South Memorial Parkway.  Tim O'Steen resides in Florence with his wife and three college aged children. 


"Learning to play the piano is contrary to our nature.  Overcoming our ways of moving and thinking, our natural tendencies, is not harder, only different.  But by doing so, it is possible for anyone, young or old to learn to play as well as they desire, and play for a lifetime.  And from a musical standpoint, the whole thing is not a struggle, but an adventure."



Course offerings


Piano instruction

Dr. O"Steen offers individual instruction for any age student at any level of proficiency.  Beginners or advanced, the casual learner who simply wants to play fortheir own enjoyment, or the highly motivated student who wants to achieve their highest possible level of artistry.  For the beginner, it is a sound and thorough approach that assures an understanding of fundamentals of music and the piano, taking an approach that is fun for any child or older beginner. Those who are interested in collegiate/professional studies, scholarship auditions, or competition are encouraged to enquire.  Confidence in performance, sound practice methods, insights into depth of interpretation.  Regardless of the level or particular interest of the student, instruction is always focused on developing a knowledgeable, skilled, and competent pianist who will possess a playing facility for a lifetime of enjoyment. 

Individual piano instruction in popular styles

Instruction in popular styles is tailored to suit the current level of the student.  Studies in popular styles are focused largely on learning basic chord forms and harmony, with work in improvisation techniques.  A suitable level of technical facility and chord shape recognition is developed to allow the student to read the keyboard effectively.  The ability to read music is not necessary but can be developed to meet the students' goals.  The student will learn to read chord symbols, charts and chord terminology.  Projects in the creation of original music can be incorporated as well as the study and performance of existing popular music as the student desires.

individual instruction in jazz piano

Jazz piano instruction offers studies in jazz harmony and improvisation.  Chord types and scale patterns are explored to help the student develop a functional harmonic vocabulary.  Keyboard vision for chord recognition is developed so the student can begin an individual journey toward performance level improvisation and creation of music in the style.  Regular creative study assignments are given along with the examination of various jazz literature.  The focus is on developing a functioning, individual style for the student.

Individual music composition

Music composition is offered at various levels with focus designed to suit the objectives of the student.  Students who are interested in serious composition (art music) should have the ability to read music.  Those interested in popular styles may or may not need reading skills to varying degrees depending on their objectives.  The course gives considerable attention to the creative process and its use within the context of the student's current knowledge.  Individual composition projects will be central to the work in this course.  Lesson times and their frequency are flexible.    

Group composition

Group composition classes are available on demand.  Students will be able to hear the works of others in the class and have their own music heard.  Those interested can receive instruction in notation software (Finale).  This class meets weekly.  

group piano i for youth beginners

Class piano offers a more economical way of gaining an introduction to and understanding of music and playing the piano.  Classes are limited to four students to assure sufficient attention for each student.  The class piano facility also allows for individual attention while others are able to practice silently.  This specially designed course of study provides the student with a clear understanding of notation and staff structure, rhythm, fingering, and the proper use of their hands.  Reading skill is developed and performance literature is learned and performed.  This is a four month class after which the student is well prepared for individual lessons or for continuation in Group piano II.

Group piano ii for youth beginners

This section of class piano is available to students who have completed class piano I for beginners, or those who can demonstrate skills equivalent to completion of class piano I.  This course provides an opportunity to develop the skills introduced in the first course, and to begin exploring some of the expressive/musical aspects of playing in the use of musically more substantial literature.  The student will begin to learn the use of dynamics, articulation, tempo fluctuation, and begin to experience music as an art form that can, through their own playing, depict the world in which they live.  Many students who complete this course successfully will develop an interest in continuing their study of music and the piano.  At that point individual lessons are recommended and, in my professional opinion, are appropriate.   This is a four month course offered at the same fee rate though the small fees for materials are slightly higher for this class.

Music appreciation/Music theoryet. al.

What is that instrument?  What does it sound like?  Why does some music sound odd?  What is a symphony, a sonata?  What is jazz?   Have you ever heard a thunderstorm in music?  Birds singing?  Bug noises at night?  A guillotine fall!?  How can music depict the world around us?  We will hear Prokoffief's Peter and the Wolf and Britten's Young People's Guide to the Orchestra and explore the instruments.  Give your childa chance to find the spark of that musical experience that inspires them to a lifetime of musical enrichment.   Music theory/fundamentals offers a clear and understandable explanation of the basics that every musician needs.  With a grasp of note recognition, rhythmic notation and meter, physical aspects of rhythm and their "inner clock," listening skills, understanding the staff, your child can be well prepared for those challenging first months of instrumental instruction with an excellent chance for success in their early years of study.  Class size varies.  Classes start monthly on demand.  Early day and evening classes for adults and homeschoolers are available by demand.  Music theory classes are available for group or individual environments.  All classes are available for youth or adults.  Please enquire. 


Pianists at PRELUDE MUSIC ARTS learn and play music that depicts the world around them as well as their own personal world, whatever it may be.  HOW?  They learn how their hands can create impressions at the piano, from the sounds of nature at night, to the rhythm of train wheels, to the textures of a landscape that reaches beyond sight, to a thunderstorm that threatens a day at the park, but goes elsewhere.  Playing the piano might be more than you think. In fact, the pianist's art is as big as human experience, because music is that big.  And it is something that any person can learn to do and enjoy for a life time, with instruction that is focused on creating pianists, competent musicians who create music.  







A $25 registration fee and completed registration form is required for every student.  Additional family members, siblings or parents, will require a $15 fee and form.  No contract is required beyond an initial advance payment of one month's fee to assure the 30 day withdrawal notice.  See policy form.


Individual studio piano

Those interested in the serious study of fine literature may expect a study of piano that aims at a high level of artistry.  Instruction can otherwise be tailored to suit the objectives of the student.  Fee is for 30 minute lessons. Lessons of 45 or 60 minutes increase in $25 increments.




class piano I, II for beginners, class comp.

Class piano is a cost effective way to give your student a great start at the piano and music fundamentals.  Classes are limited to four allowing for individual attention when necessary.  Class composition allows students to hear other's work.  Learning an effective creative process is important. 


Individual piano, popular styles, jazz

Instruction in popular styles and jazz is focused on learning chord forms and harmony, with work in improvisation techniques, including keyboard visuals.  Projects in the creation of original music are incorporated as well as the study and performance of existing literature.




individual studio composition

If a student has the urge to create, then they are encouraged to explore their instincts.  This is instruction in developing any style desired, from serious art to popular.  Students spend time daily in composing.  Instruction with notation software can be incorporated. (Finale software purchase required)


class music theory, music appreciation

Music theory and music appreciation are both available on a group or individual basis as demand dictates.  Some classes offered will require a small materials fee, usually under $10. 



Satisfied Customers

Dear Tim, It is difficult to express the depth of my gratitude for the seven years of teaching, encouraging and challenging that you offered Sam. You nurtured his talent weekly, but the biggest challenges he faced—auditioning for the Alabama School of Fine Arts in 8th grade and now for a scholarship at Birmingham Southern—he was able to meet and succeed in because of your high expectations over the years. And I thank you for setting the mark high and for preparing him!
—Sincerely, Frances W.

          "People so often think that playing the piano is All about the hands, having the right hands.  But no one has brains in their hands. The process of learning to play the piano requires thinking about it the right way.  The brain teaches the hands and then the reverse happens. Both are crucial for satisfying success.  It is an intriguing and miraculous process.  As for technique, I always teach it and sooner or later a motivated pianist needs it.  While it is necessary for power and velocity and clean execution, it is also and always about the sound that one is trying to create."  

Dr. W. Tim O'Steen, pianist/teacher/composer            prelude music arts             3322 S. Memorial parkway, suite 214,  Huntsville/Madison     256-415-8490                                                                                           505 N. Seminary St.,  Suite 2,   florence





Whether you're in Huntsville, Madison, or Florence, or somewhere in North Alabama, this is a hometown business.  You will always have the opportunity to speak with me and I am always willing accommodate your interests, your schedule, and your musical objectives for you and/or your young student any way that I can.  Unless I am teaching, I am available by phone 256-415-8490, text, email:, or through this site.  Feel free to request policy information, or more about me and the studio, fees, schedules, or how I might turn you or your young person into a pianist.  Variations in teaching schedules are always possible so please enquire.